Thome, Contreras dealt to LA, Colorado
Slipping from contention, White Sox move veterans
MINNEAPOLIS -- Things have not exactly gone as Ken Williams had planned for the White Sox over the past few weeks.
In fact, their 2-9 showing at the start of 20 games played in 20 days would stand as far off from the general manager's expectations as humanly possible. Williams said that the best way to keep this team together, with 2010 personnel decisions to be made involving key players such as Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye and Scott Podsednik, to name a few, simply would be to win, basically nothing short of a World Series title, according to Williams' recent comments in an interview with MLB.com.
With the White Sox sitting six games behind Detroit in the American League Central, 2 1/2 behind the Twins for second and out of AL Wild Card competition, the White Sox general manager decided to make some of those decisions a bit early. The team traded Thome to the Dodgers and Jose Contreras, who had been dropped from the starting rotation, to the Rockies in moves that beat Monday's 11 p.m. CT deadline for players to be added to potential playoff rosters and followed a 4-1 loss to the Twins.
Thome, one of the most affable and likeable players in baseball, and cash considerations were moved for infielder Justin Fuller. Contreras, an equally popular player in the White Sox clubhouse, and cash considerations were moved for pitcher Brandon Hynick. Thome had to waive his no-trade clause in order to be moved to the Dodgers, where he figures to primarily be a pinch-hitter.
The day began with a report from ESPN's Buster Olney as to how Williams had sent out an e-mail to selected teams that the White Sox would be willing to listen to deals for selected veterans. That list reportedly included reliever Scott Linebrink, Thome and Dye. When asked via e-mail earlier in the evening if he had a comment on the report, Williams stayed true to form in keeping White Sox business in house.
"You know the answer," Williams replied.
Williams was in New York this past weekend for arguably the White Sox worst three-game series since the debacle that was the 2007 season. The Yankees, albeit the best team in baseball, swept the White Sox and outscored them by a 23-5 margin. On Saturday, the combination of Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin limited the White Sox to one hit.
Monday's earlier report had not made its way public by the time Ozzie Guillen addressed the media. But when asked about Williams' demeanor following the Yankees series, Guillen described it as "good."
"Obviously, disappointed like everyone else," Guillen said. "We talked about the ballclub. He made a couple comments on what we would do next. Kenny is waiting for this team to wake up and start swinging the bat better. Hopefully we do it quick."
The White Sox have drawn as much attention as any contender since the non-waiver trade deadline of July 31, adding pitcher Jake Peavy through a trade with San Diego and then claiming Alex Rios off of waivers from Toronto. Peavy is owed $52 million over the next three years and is still working his way back to the mound from a partially torn tendon in his right ankle suffered three months ago. Results from Monday's exam on Peavy's right elbow, which took a direct line drive in last Monday's rehab start, showed a muscle and bone bruise, but there is no timetable for his return.
Rios, who is in the second year of a seven-year, $69.835 million contract, has batted just .193 with three RBIs in 15 games since joining the White Sox. The White Sox did extensive research before adding these sizable salaries, but Williams might be trying to shake his team loose from near season-ending doldrums.
In the meanwhile, despite his team's struggles, Guillen doesn't sound as if he's given up postseason hope.
"Keep fighting," said Guillen of his message to the team. "We're not in a great spot, but we're better off than a lot of people. Keep fighting, believe in themselves, believe we can do this. I think the talent is out there. We have a lot of talent.
"Go out there and play hard. Play as hard as they can for one month and see what happens."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.